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review

JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds

9
£99.99

VERDICT:

9
10
Great sound quality, unbeatable battery life, with useful noise-cancelling and sound pass-through modes
Good sound quality
EQ and controls customisation
Comfort
Excellent battery life
Controls can be hit and miss
Weight: 
21g
Contact: 
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The JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Airbuds are comfortable, have an excellent sound quality and a seemingly endless battery life. Their ear-hook design means they stay in place well, and while at £99.99 they aren't cheap, getting the same sound quality and functionality from a more recognisable brand would cost you a lot more.

> Buy now: JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Airbuds for £79.99 from John Lewis

These JLab earbuds come in a charging case with an integrated USB cable. Size-wise, it's about half the size of a glasses case, which makes it easy to fit in your jersey pocket. The charging case has a battery, so when they're in the case, they're charging. When you take them out, they're on. You can use one, or both, without issue.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - boxed.jpg

Each earbud has an infrared sensor that detects when it's being worn, so if you take them off, or you take one of them off, your podcast or music stops playing, and restarts when you put them back on; I like this feature.

They are rated IP66, which means they're protected against dust ingress and jets of water. So unless you're planning to wear these under water, they're good to go whatever the weather and however hard your Zwift session is.

Ear fit

I haven't yet found an in-ear earbud that stays put in my ears – which is why I prefer ear-hooks: quite simply, they work very well for me. And in terms of fit and comfort, these are the best I've used – and I was happy to wear them all-day long. The ear hooks are firm enough to hold the earbuds securely in place, but they have enough give so that they stay comfortable.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - earbud inside.jpg

The eartips they came with were also the best-fitting ones I've tried, though in the box you get four other pairs of silicone eartips and one set of 'cloud foam' eartips.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - bud sizes.jpg

Sound quality

I was pleasantly surprised when I first tried these, and for an earbud design I found a surprising amount of bass coming through. I'm not musical and nobody would accuse me of having exceptional hearing, but I do enjoy my music and I've enjoyed listening to music through these. I personally wouldn't spend more on better sound quality.

Noise cancelling

These feature three different noise-cancelling modes: active noise cancelling (ANC) on or off, and 'Be Aware', which essentially lets outside noises pass through. These options make them absolutely perfect for all my cycling needs. For indoor sessions, where I don't want to hear the drone of the fan and the trainer, I can switch ANC on.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - 1.jpg

If I want to use them on the road, and I want to hear what's going on around me, I find the Be Aware mode effectively turns them into an open-ear design like the OneOdio OpenRock Pro's I reviewed last year and rated.

Don't expect hearing protection levels of noise cancellation – these will reduce some of the background drone while you're Zwifting, but they won't allow you to listen to a podcast while you're running a power tool.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - case.jpg

This isn't a criticism, as I think this level of noise cancellation is absolutely appropriate for a set of earbuds designed for sport rather than work.

App happy

The earbuds paired to my iPhone 12 first time without issue and have continued to do so since. They also connected easily to the JLab Sound app, which unlocks some useful functionality.

You can update the firmware through the app, customise the noise-control modes and switch off the autoplay/pause sensors.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - 2.jpg

You can also use the app to adjust the EQ. There are three pre-set modes: JLab Signature; Balanced; and Bass Boost. And in addition to those, you also have the option of a custom mode to mix the EQ to your own particular liking.

You can customise the left and right touch controls on the earbuds for single tap, double tap, triple tap and hold, to give me settings that I found more useful to me than the original factory settings.

Controls

There are no physical buttons, instead you get a touch sensor on each earbud. You can use the app to customise the touch sensors to do the things you'd expect: next/previous, volume control, noise-cancelling control, EQ control and Google/Siri.

I didn't get on particularly well with the touch sensor – trying to find it with your finger is the same as engaging it, so it does sometimes requires a bit of patience.

There's a small delay between touching the sensor and the action, so if you think you missed a single tap, and you hit it again, it sometimes interprets it as a double tap.

Having said all that, I do find myself controlling most things from the earbuds instead of getting my phone out. It's not that the touch sensor isn't usable, it is – but it is a bit niggly.

Battery life

To be honest, I don't know exactly what the actual battery life of these earbuds is – and that's because it's so long that I've not yet found the limits.

JLab quotes 15+ hours of playing time without charging from the case, with charging from the case giving you another 55 hours. Using ANC will reduce that time a bit, but JLab still quotes 50 hours, or 70 hours with the ANC turned off.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - case open emtpy.jpg

If you store the earbuds in the case when not in use, as I do, in practice you'll never have to worry about charging them. In my case I used them for weeks of listening. Out of habit I think I charged the case when I first got these, and then once more in the couple of months I've been using them.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - case open.jpg

The down side of this is that the case isn't as small or as light as it otherwise have been, and if that's your priority, you might want to consider other earbuds. But I must say I really like not having to worry about battery life, and the size and weight don't worry me.

Charging

When it's time to charge the case, it'll take around 3.5 hours to charge fully, with the case's integrated cable plugging straight into a standard USB port.

2024 JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds - case back.jpg

Should you run the earbuds down, it'll takes three hours in the case to fully charge them, but even just 15 minutes in the case will give you an hour's listening time.

Value

At a penny under £100, these aren't cheap – but the construction quality, the sound they deliver, their battery life and functionality are all better than you'd expect at this sort of price.

A quick search for noise-cancelling earbuds on Amazon gives you loads of options if you want to spend less, starting at less than £20.

Equally, you can spend a good deal more for a product from a mainstream brand. For example, a pair of Powerbeats Pro retails at £269.95, and on paper at least these offer a comparable performance.

I really liked the OneOdio OpenRock Pro Wireless OpenEar earbuds that I mentioned earlier, which now cost £129.99 and don't offer noise-cancelling. I appreciated being able to hear what was going on around me and their battery life – but the JLab's battery life is even more impressive. The Jlab Epic's allow the same level of sound to pass through, but you can also choose to block some of it using ANC – And the JLabs are cheaper.

Conclusion

I like these JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds. The sound quality is great, the battery life is impressive, while their noise-cancelling mode means you can block out enough environmental noise so you can listen to your podcast or music. And with the Be Aware mode letting you hear what's going on around when that's more important than what's playing in your ears, this pretty much ticks all the boxes as far as I'm concerned.

The controls can be a little fiddly, but I can live with that, and the £99.99 price is a little more than I'd like to pay – but it's certainly not outrageous compared to others on the market.

Verdict

Great sound quality, unbeatable battery life, with useful noise-cancelling and sound pass-through modes

road.cc test report

Make and model: JLab Epic Air Sport ANC True Wireless Earbuds

Size tested: One Size

Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Jlab says:

Ultimate true wireless with active noise canceling and sport fit, up to 70+ hours playtime and customizable sound via the JLab Air ANC app

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

JLab says:

70+ Hours Bluetooth® Playtime

50+ Hours ANC Bluetooth® Playtime

3 Noise Control Modes

Smart Active Noise Canceling

Low latency Movie Mode

ANC App

Wireless Charging Case

IP66 sweat and water resistance

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They are comfortable to wear for hours on end, the sound quality is great, they pair faultlessly and the battery life is seemingly endless. That's a lot of positives in my book!

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The sound quality and their exceptional battery life.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The controls don't always do what you want them to do.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

You can easily find noise-cancelling earbuds for less – there's no end of options on the likes of Amazon. You can also spend more, such as the Powerbeats Pro that cost almost three times the price.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

These earbuds do all the things that are important to me well: sound quality, battery life, block some external noise when I want it, let in external sound in when I want it. My only niggle is that the controls can be a bit fiddly to get right.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 77kg

I usually ride: All of them!  My best bike is: Ribble Endurance SL disc

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, mtb, Zwift

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1 comments

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Bezzard74 | 1 month ago
0 likes

100% agree on all points! 
Been using these for 6 months and love them! 

Never ran out of battery, even on 200km rides, playing a mixture of music and audiobooks to keep me going.

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